Former Clemson football players earn huge paydays in NFL free agency


Former Clemson football products have had a great week as the NFL has officially entered into the start of their free agency period. One former Clemson player is set to become the highest-paid at his position.

At some point, every football player sees their dreams come to an end and they have to hang up their cleats. Some do it after high school, some after college and a few get the chance to put on a professional uniform; even fewer get more than one professional contract.

However, over the last few days this week, several former Clemson football players signed second contracts for a combined nearly $100 million with NFL teams. While the opening few days have been great for former Clemson defensive lineman, the same cannot be said for free agents like Bashaud Breeland and Mackensie Alexander.

Former Clemson football defensive tackle D.J. Reader got his start with the Houston Texans and has been described by J.J. Watt as the best nose tackle in the NFL. That is high praise coming from one of the game’s best players.

Reader was rewarded for his work over the last several years with a massive four year $53 million contract from the Cincinnati Bengals. DJ Reader is now the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL. Over the last two seasons, he and former teammate Grady Jarrett have signed contracts for approximately $121 million over the next several years.

Former Clemson football defensive end and college teammate of Reader’s, Shaq Lawson, is saying goodbye to Buffalo, who took him in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft and taking his talents to South Beach to join Christian Wilkins and the Miami Dolphins.

While Lawson is not seeing the massive payday that Reader is, his three-year deal is worth $30 million and he gets to live in a much better climate over the next few years. It will be great to see what he and Wilkins can achieve together over the next several years.

Lastly, the Vic Beasley era came to an end in Atlanta after five years, but he signed a one-year prove-it deal in Tennessee that is worth $9.5 million but could see him earn nearly $13 million should he hit any of escalation clauses.

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Overall, a very good start to the free-agent period for former Clemson football players and with a few still left out there looking for their next opportunity, there is a great chance that the 2020 free agency period will see former Tigers collectively top $100 million in new contracts.